Psychological Self-Help

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skills: assertiveness, negotiation, relaxation, anger and sadness
control, how to deal with procrastination, social skills, and decision-
making. The results were impressive. As intended, the 12-week
treatment program resulted in more optimism when compared to a
control group. More importantly, only twelve percent (12%) of the at-
risk children in the treatment program had suffered moderate to
severe depression by the end of the 24 month follow-up period.
However, thirty-eight percent (38%) of the untreated matched control
group had suffered depression. Apparently, teaching cognitive
methods for increasing optimism and accuracy in thinking as well as a
variety of other coping skills helps prevent depression. If a 12 week,
2-hour-a-week psychology class can reduce childhood depression in
at-risk children by half or 2/3rds, surely the world needs to pay
Whenever you have a self-defeating pessimistic thought, ask
yourself these five questions: (1) Is it really true that you are helpless
in this situation? How certain can you be that something unavoidable
and awful is going to happen? Are you sure you couldn't get an A in
math? Why couldn't you build your own house? What are the real
chances of a catastrophe? (2) Is there another way to explain this
event? Did he/she leave me for other reasons rather than my being
boring? Find as many possible reasons as you can. (3) So what, even
if it is partly true? Must it last forever? Must it mess up everything?
Suppose he/she did think you were a little boring, there is a lot more
to it than that. Besides, it won't be hard to become more interesting to
someone else. (4) Is this pessimistic idea doing me harm right now? If
so, put it aside. Of course, you must not hastily dismiss every
pessimistic idea: it is wise to heed your negative feelings about many
things, such as driving while drunk, getting into a fight, burning down
your house for insurance, etc. In short, simply insist that the negative
idea be rational and useful before it shuts down your life. (5) What is
the best possible outcome I can hope for in this situation? Logically,
what do I need to do to turn this crisis into an opportunity? Question
the rational basis for your guilt (see guilt section above and method
#4 in chapter 14). 
Optimists, who try the hardest, believe success depends on effort, not on innate ability or
luck or social class or looks. So, work harder and become an optimist. Be responsible and
become proud.
Attribution retraining
The depressed person is prone to believe "this bad situation will
never get better," "it will ruin my whole life," and "it's all my fault." If
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